“Misshapes, mistakes, misfits / We'd like to go to town but we can't risk it, oh / 'Cause they just want to keep us out”
Pulp, Different Class, 1996
Every time a Suede gig comes around, it’s a constant reminder that the human condition, the clashing individualism and collective belonging can be precious thing. It’s the musical equivalent of Ken Loach’s working class life and Danny Boyle’s underclass flamboyance.
From the moment Southend’s finest exports The Horrors take to the stage, the sense that the outsiders are taking charge once more is tangible. Quite simply:
“We are the pigs,
We are the swine,
We are the stars of the firing line”
Emerging silhouetted ramped up the anticipation of seeing the hip shaping acrylic shirt wearing Anderson. Despite the brilliance of the band, Anderson’s light still burns brightest. Even with all the success and adulation, he still seeks out the most intimate connection with the audience. None more prevalent than on the acoustic (and no microphone) version of ‘The Power’. It’s always been an emotional cog in their live armoury, this rendition became a hymn for the bored and disaffected in England’s satellite towns and perhaps, its truest incarnation.
As the set grows, the realisation of just how remarkable their return to new releases in 2013 unfurls. The brutal examination of a Brett’s relationship with his father on ‘I Don’t Know How To Reach You’ (‘Night Thoughts’ 2016) brings a rare silence as Richard Oakes’ playing haunts this West London audience. ‘The Outsiders’ (‘Night Thoughts’ 2016), with guitar licks from the early days of The Cure, is as romantic as Anderson’s characters have ever been and if alternative pop were still a thing, ‘It Starts An Ends With You’ would be among their best. Live, it allows Suede to convey that rock n roll desperation, the thirst to be heard is not just for the young.
As five thousand people head to the tube station, the quiet, reserved nature of the Suede fan returns. The staring begins again, Doc Martens are a sign of leprosy once more, and ‘through the slippery city we ride’. Little do they know, that art, in its purest form has been witnessed by people more beautiful than they’ll ever know.